The Football Associations of Wales and Scotland have fiercely denied reports of an “historic agreement” between the nations to form a Great British football team for the London 2012 Olympics.
Earlier today, the British Olympics Association said controversial proposals for a Team GB football squad in next year’s games had been agreed by the FA, FAW, Scottish FA and Football Association of Northern Ireland.
There has been strong opposition to the idea of a GB team from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over fears that their independence as footballing nations could be jeopardised by the move.
However this afternoon the FA and BOA “confirmed” in this press release that a GB team would play for the first time in 52 years at London 2012.
FA General Secretary Alex Horne said that they were “delighted” that a side including players from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland would be competing:
“It’s important as the host nation; football plays its part in what is sure to be a fantastic spectacle.
“We are pleased that the team will be selected from players across the home nations and I’d like to thank our counterparts at the Welsh, Irish and Scottish FAs for their understanding on what is a difficult issue”
But both the FAW and Scottish FA say they remain opposed to a Great British team. Statements of denial came quickly they had reached any agreement has been reached by themselves and the English FA to field a GB team.
The FAW have described today’s announcement as “the latest in the propaganda war” against the FAW and other home nation football associations.
Welsh FA president Phil Pritchard said the FA had no right to speak on behalf of the other associations on Olympic matters:
“We are not part of any agreement. The FA have no authority to speak on our behalf – they do not represent Wales whatsoever and that’s a fact.
“We have not discussed this at any time recently.”
The FA is the designated National Governing Body for Olympic football within the National Olympic Committee. It represents the interests of the Football Associations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.